Fifa sponsors under pressure to speak out on Qatar

Fifa's sponsors are being pressured once more to speak out on working conditions in Qatar, as campaigners equate conditions at the 2022 World Cup sites to "slavery".

Fifa: a safety day held at Qatar's Al Wakrah Stadium, one of the World Cup venues
Fifa: a safety day held at Qatar's Al Wakrah Stadium, one of the World Cup venues

Coca-Cola, Adidas, Visa, Kia, Hyundai, McDonald's, Gazprom and Budweiser are the eight sponsors being called on to challenge human rights abuses at the construction sites.

Campaigners from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the Trade Union Congress, Skins sportswear and the New Fifa Now group slammed the working conditions and said brands had a "responsibility" towards workers.

Hundreds are estimated to have died in desperate conditions where temperatures can hit 50 degrees.

If they do not speak out about the appalling conditions, then their reputations will be tarnished around the world

British MP Damian Collins, part of the New Fifa Now group, told the BBC: "Everyone who is part of Fifa's family, as the sponsors are, has a responsibility about what is going on in Qatar, about the abysmal conditions, and numerous deaths, of migrant workers.

"If they do not speak out about the appalling conditions, then their reputations will be tarnished around the world."

Jaimie Fuller, the chairman of Skins, the sportswear brand dubbed the "official non-sponsor of Fifa", has drafted a letter to each sponsor's CEO, asking them to push for reforms to Fifa's "way of doing business".

While Fifa's sponsors have spoken out against Fifa before, none seem to be prepared to take the more draconian approach of pulling out.

Fuller said sponsors had the chance to change the situation, pointing to the precedent set by Olympic sponsors during the Salt Lake City corruption scandal. 

He said: "So far, Fifa's sponsors have restricted themselves to a series of rhetorical statements aimed at defending an indefensible association."

 


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